In the medical field, human error often leads to serious medical situations that cause pain and suffering for patients. Many times, these mistakes are completely preventable.
The Patient Safety Network explains that some medical mistakes should never happen because there are protocols in place to help prevent them. If followed correctly, the protocols should prevent these never events from occurring.
Never events fall into seven different categories.
Patient protection events are those that involve the release of a patient from care, a patient’s disappearance or self-harm situations. Surgical events are those involving the wrong patient or body parts, leaving items behind in the body or death right after surgery.
Care management events are those involving anything to do with the care of patients, such as medication mistakes and improper documentation. Product or device events relate to anything involving medical devices and other products.
Radiologic events are quite specific and occur when something metal is present during an MRI. Environmental events are those concerning the surroundings of the patient and mistakes, such as accidentally unhooking a line, burns and electric shock. Finally, criminal events are any situation where there is a criminal act on the part of a medical staff member.
The seven categories are rather extensive, which can make them difficult to remember. To make it easier, you can keep in mind there are three characteristics of a never event. The first is that the event causes serious injury or death, the second is that it is preventable, and the last is that the event is easy to identify and measure.